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Maroela Satellite Rest Camp


Maroela Satellite Rest Camp is one of the satellite camps of Kruger National Park (KNP) which is located in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo province of South Africa.  The camp is situated on the western boundary of the park close to the Orpen entrance gate.

Maroela is a small camp located on the banks of the Timbavati River and is the satellite camp of Orpen rest camp which is about 2 km away. It is one of the best spots in KNP to spot wildlife.

This rest camp is one of only two camps in KNP that only caters for visitors with tents, caravans or campers. No other accommodation types are available at Maroela. There is a small water hole right next to the fence where visitors can watch animals come and go without even driving out of the camp. It also has a viewing platform that overlooks the Timbavati River.

Maroela is rustic in every way and a very special place to visit as you are surrounded by quietness and beautiful nature scenery away from the hustle and bustle of the main camps. Guests are truly part of the bush when staying at this exclusive rest camp.

The name Maroela is the Afrikaans spelling of marula which is the common name of the Scierocarya Birrea Tree. The marula is an indigenous tree to South Africa and used for medicinal and ritual purposes. People and the animals eat the fruit of the Marula tree, and it is said to have strong aphrodisiac properties.

Staying in any of the camps of the KNP is a top experience where you can be guaranteed to see the Big 5. It is one of the more affordable safari vacations that you can book in South Africa.

The camp offers only camping accommodation and does not allow any day visitors. Booking accommodation can be done online via the SANParks website, telephone, fax, e-mail or in person at a KNP bookings office.

Why would you want to visit Maroela?

Spending a few days in the Maroela camp provides a true African experience like few others and is definitely something to add to your safari vacation.

The Kruger National Park is filled with all kinds of camps, offering a variety of comfortable accommodation options. Maroela is known as a satellite camps as it is situated close to a main rest camp, in this case Orpen rest Camp. Guests have to book into Maroela at Orpen camp, shop there for supplies, fill up on fuel, and grab a bite to eat and be back at Maroela before the camp close.

Satellite camps are designed to be completely communal and rustic and there are few other building structures in these camps. Instead of having a wide variety of accommodation options, such as bungalows, huts, and guest houses, you will need to pack your tent and everything else you could need for your stay at Maroela.

Most of KNP’s camps have some kind of history behind it, but this is not the case with the satellite camps. Most of them were built with a specific purpose in mind. Camping is your only option at Maroela and it offers about 24 camp sites. Guests make use of the communal kitchen, refrigerator, and ablution facilities, but the lack of facilities should not be a problem as you will either be out most of the day on a self-drive or simple relaxing in the quietness of the camp.

The camp is enclosed with a simple metal wire fence and many animals are spotted right from your tent. Hyenas and other animals are lured to the fence at night time by the smells of the meat on the braai fires. Guests also enjoy viewing animals from the viewing platform that overlooks the Timbavati River below.

Going out on an open vehicle safari is the preferred way to see animals but the best way to spot animals in Maroela is right from your tent or from the viewing platform.

The camp offers great bird watching opportunities as it provides a walking route on the inside perimeters of the camp. You will get a general offering of fauna and flora and being close to animals that you might catch a glimpse of on the other side of the electrified fence.

Where is Maroela located?

Maroela is located on the western border of the KNP, about 3 km from the Orpen entrance gate. The GPS coordinates for the camp is S 24 27′ 23″ E 31 23′ 58″.

How to get to Maroela

Travelling time from Johannesburg to the closest entrance gate at Orpen car is at least four to five hours.

Travelling from central Gauteng you head towards Nelspruit on the N4. At the Belfast turn off you take the R540 towards Lydenburg. At Lydenburg turn left onto the R36 and head towards Hoedspruit. About 30 km before Hoedspruit turn right onto the R531 and head to Orpen gate. Maroela camp is approximately 3 km away from the gate and you should reach it within 10 minutes. Remember to first go to reception at Orpen camp before heading out to Maroela.

Flying in to Maroela can be done via the Eastgate airport in Hoedspruit which is situated 68 km from the Orpen gate. It is served by SA Express with daily flights from Johannesburg and from Cape Town. Just keep in mind that you can only camp at Maroela so you have to make arrangements beforehand to hire a caravan or camper from Hoedspruit.

A map of KNP can be bought at the entrance gates or any of the camps in the park.

Be aware of the gate times for entering and departing from the park. It is as follows:

Entrance gates:

  • January, February, November and December – gates open at 05:30 and close at 18:30
  • March and October – gates open at 05:30 and close at 18:00.
  • April, August, and September – gates open at 06:00 and close at 18:00.
  • May, June, and July – gates open at 06:00 and close at 17:30.

Maroela’s gates open and close at the same times as the entrance gates, except for January, November and December when the camp gates open as early as 04:30. 

What to do while staying at Maroela.

There are not as many activities on offer at the satellite camps as at the main rest camps. All bookings and further details for these activities at Maroela are available from reception at Orpen.

At Maroela you have the option of guided bush walks or game drives. You can book both activities either at sunrise or sunset. Night drives enable you to take part in the nocturnal activities of Kruger’s secretive creatures, in the company of experienced guides and trackers. Guided bush walks, in the company of trained field guides with backup rifles will take groups of up to 8 people out into the bush for a few hours. Track rhino, elephant and lion on foot and observe the fascinating African bush.

The most picturesque of all the routes falls along the Timbavati River. The riverbed is an excellent place to find Leopard. Game can also be viewed at the Rabelais Dam.

Various open vehicle safari operators are available to book a trip with. They offer affordable yet exclusive safari trips for singles, couples, families with children or small private groups.

What to watch out for when staying at Maroela

Staying at Maroela is an exciting experience and guests will experience the flora and fauna that this area offers.

Animals to be seen in the vicinity of Maroela Camp on a KNP safari include giraffe, zebra, elephant, wildebeest, buffalo, cheetah, lion, hyena, baboon, vervet monkeys, warthog, impala, bushbuck, kudu, bushbuck, and many more.

The surrounding area offers excellent opportunities for game viewing. On the drive from Orpen to Satara herds of zebra and wildebeest will be seen next to the road, while giraffe, impala, warthog and elephant are common sightings. Turning off and following the Timbavati River northwards onto Olifants rest camp will likely produce lion, cheetah and leopard.

The vegetation of this open plain is tall acacias and marula trees, with red bush willows, aloes and Barberton daisies planted in the camp area’s rock gardens.

Being close to a water means you should probably see animals of all kinds.

What type of accommodation does Maroela offer and what amenities/facilities are available at the camp?

Maroela provides camping accommodation for singles, couples, and families with children. Accommodation availability changes from day to day and all inquiries about general availability are subject to change without notice. Last minute reservations in less than 31 days prior to arrival date, are payable within 24 hours after receiving a confirmed provisional reservation via e-mail.

Your accommodation is only guaranteed once you receive a provisional reservation confirmation and to secure your reservation full pre-payment is required a.s.a.p.

Maroela is a special place to stay, and the camp is very affordable since it only offers camping facilities. Camping is the most affordable and the most rustic style of accommodation that Kruger offers. Maroela camp is perfect for backpackers and other camping travellers and is a true bush veld camp.

Maroela only offer 24 tent or caravan sites, with power point for a maximum of 6 people. Guests make use of the communal ablutions and cooking facilities. The campsites are placed well apart from one another which ensure privacy. Although the camp is small in comparison to others, it is never overcrowded.

If you are camping with a small tent, you may be allowed to have more than one tent per site, provided that guests number no more than 6 people. Generators may be used from one hour after sunrise and run them until one hour before sunset.

At Maroela the following facilities are available:

  • One communal kitchen
  • One ablution block
  • A communal refrigerator
  • A Boma, which is a communal braai (barbeque) area available at nearby Tamboti.
  • No shop or restaurant available.
  • No ATM facility available.
  • No Reception office at camp.
  • Maroela offers camping facilities only

What do you need to know and bring for a safe and comfortable stay at the Maroela?

Plan properly for your self-catering stay at Maroela to make it a relaxed trip and enjoyable stay. Bookings need to be done well in advance from your planned date of arrival. KNP is a popular game reserve and accommodation is not readily available, especially in the holiday season and during the winter months.

Maroela does not offer any bed and breakfast facilities and guests must bring everything they need for their stay at this camp. Meals and groceries can be bought at the Orpen rest camp’s restaurant and shop that provides most items that will be needed on a daily basis.

Most parts of the KNP is situated well within a malaria area. This is much more than just an unpleasant illness but can be fatal if left untreated. Since it is being spread by mosquitoes, the best way to avoid getting sick is to prevent the mosquitos to bite you.

You can avoid mosquito bites if you take the necessary steps, such as wearing long sleeves and trousers in the evening, using a reputable kind of insect repellent.

The best way to totally avoid a malaria scare is to get the necessary preventative medication prescribed by your doctor before journeying into the African bush.

Although it is basically impossible for larger, more dangerous animals to enter the camp, it is best to always be alert. Nocturnal animals like the civet, porcupines, and others are frequent visitors.

Ensure your stay is happy and safe by taking note of a few simple warnings. You will be sharing your stay with many unusual and dangerous creatures, such as bats, spiders, snakes, scorpions, to mention but a few, and without knowledge some of them could be dangerous.

If you must walk around at night, please do not do so without a torch. Although there is streetlights, it is not very bright and only along the footpaths.

Under no circumstances are you allowed to feed the animals. By feeding any wildlife, you are signing their death warrant as they become lazy and do not seek for food themselves which can cause them to starve. Some also become aggressive.

When to visit Maroela

The best time of the year to make your trip to Maroela in the KNP is either early spring or late autumn. Kruger is a summer rainfall area and such precipitation is usually convectional and can result in heavy downpours.

The hot summer months from October to April can make any safari tour unpleasant. Unfortunately, Maroela does not have a swimming pool.

The winters are warm and mild during the day and can sometimes be quite cold at night. If you are planning a trip to KNP in the winter that include a night-drive be sure to pack warm clothing that include a warm jacket, beanie, scarf and gloves.

Even animals sometimes shy away from the heat. During the summer months they tend to look for shade during the hottest time of the day and is not always easy to spot, especially since the bush is very dense.

During the winter months, wildlife tend to stay in the vicinity of water sources and can often be seen at the watering holes, rivers and dams. The bush is also less dense, and animals are spotted more easily than during the summer months.


Where is Maroela located?

The Maroela camp is located about 3 km from the Orpen entrance gate on the western border of the KNP.

What to expect and look out for when staying at the Maroela?

The camp only offers organised activities like morning, sunset or night game drives and guided walks. It has to be booked at Orpen rest camp. Guests can walk the perimeter trail of the camp spotting birds and wildlife.

From the viewing platform looking down to the Timbavati River you may see animals of all kinds, from elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and leopard, wild dog and hyena, to antelope and smaller mammals.

What facilities are provided at Maroela and what do you need to bring along?

Maroela rest camp offers only camping accommodation and guests need to bring everything they need for their trip. This includes your own cooking utensils, crockery, cutlery, food, insect repellent, camera, binoculars, and torch.

The camp does not have a shop on the premises but you can shop at Orpen rest camp which is only 2 km away.  There is cell phone signal at the camp, but no petrol station, swimming pool, laundry, or ATM facilities.

When is the best time to visit Maroela?

The best times of the year to stay at Maroela is during early spring or late autumn, when temperatures are mostly pleasant, and water is scarce in the veld, so more animals may come for a drink in the dam.

Does the Maroela Satellite Camp have a swimming pool?

No, the camp does not have a swimming pool.  

Does the Maroela Satellite Camp have a restaurant?

No, there is no restaurant in the camp.  

Is there a shop in the Maroela Satellite Camp?

No, there is no a shop in the Camp. 

What is the closest gate to the Maroela Satellite Camp?

The Orpen gate is the closest entrance gate to the camp. 

Is there WiFi Connection at the Maroela Satellite Camp?

No, there is no WiFi Connection at the camp.

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